How to rebuild confidence in your small business

99.9% of businesses in the UK have less than 250 employees and fall into the category of small to medium enterprises (SMEs). This means that SMEs account for over 5 million businesses, 74.7% of which have between 1 and 9 employees.

These widespread organisations play a vital part in the British economy, but there are concerns about the viability of these businesses.

After events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the cost-of-living crisis, businesses are struggling to create plans for sustained development.

Research by VistaPrint found that 45% of businesses do not have a roadmap for the second half of 2023. On top of that, 83% of SMEs do not know how they will progress in 2024. This situation is leading to a confidence crisis.

Addressing business challenges

A lack of development plans coincides with reports of plummeting business confidence. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has uncovered, through its Q4 2022 Small Business Index, that confidence within SMEs has fallen dramatically, with the retail and hospitality sectors particularly impacted.

FSB National Chair, Martin McTague, discussed the results of the study: ‘There’s no way to sugar-coat these figures – small businesses’ confidence is at its third-lowest level since we started tracking it nearly a decade ago.’

The study highlighted the negative impact that rising costs, staff turnover, and late payments are having on businesses.

However, McTague added: ‘Small firms are a fantastic national resource of innovation and creativity – especially if given the right conditions to flourish. These results are incredibly worrying, but they are not the final word.’

To create the right conditions for businesses to flourish, leaders need to create a strategy that encompasses their current challenges.

Creating a plan to build business confidence

Re-establishing confidence and having a plan are intrinsically linked. After all, it is hard to be confident in a business if it has not made considerations about resilience and growth.

With this need for a strategy in mind, many leaders have looked to the Help to Grow: Management Course. The course offers business leaders the opportunity to develop a growth action plan (GAP) alongside peers, 1-2-1 mentorship, and the opportunity to learn from small business experts. By creating a growth action plan, business leaders can begin to give their organisation a greater direction and ultimately develop confidence.

Course mentor Katya Veleva, director of leadership coaching firm Blush Cloud, noted: ‘The Help to Grow: Management programme is a brilliant opportunity to develop inclusive and sustainable approaches for future development. It is a great place for peer learning and network development.’

The Help to Grow: Management Course is available to all small businesses in the UK that have between 5 and 249 employees and are not a charity. Participants must be decision-makers who are prepared to complete every session.

You can find out more about the Help to Grow: Management Course and the benefits of building a business strategy here.